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THE PERSO-AFGHAN QUESTION      445
medium. So, distinct 'from God, there is a Primal Will
which becomes incarnate in the prophets. This Primal
Will spoke in the Bab, and will speak in c him whom God
shall manifest' ; and after him through others, for there is
no cessation in these manifestations."
Browne points out that the doctrines " formed together
a system bold, original and, to the Persian mind, singularly
attractive ; but, taken separately, there was hardly one of
which he could claim to be the author, and not very many
which did not mount to a remote antiquity." He goes
on to point out that the title of Bab1 had been already
.assumed by the four intimates of the Twelfth Imam, and
that other theories advanced were those of the Ismailis.
Even the virtues of the number nineteen, the " Number
of the Unity," were not new.
I have made no special -study of Babiism, as for
an official this would be difficult, and my connexion with
members of the sect has been principally confined to saving
their lives in times of persecution. Students, however,
notice that in its modern development there is an increas-
ingly close connexion with Christian ideals and practices
in Western Asia, whereas in Persia the converts remain
practically Moslems of the Shia sect and find difficulty in
assimilating the spirit of the new teaching.
The Fortunes of the Babis.ŚMirza Yahya, a youth of
nineteen known as Subh-i-Ezel, or "Morning of Eternity,"
who had apparently been nominated by the Bab, succeeded
him after his execution, and for some years (from 1850-68)
his position was undisputed. In 1852, owing to the per-
secution referred to below, he fled to Baghdad, and ten
years later he and his followers were transferred to
Adrianople at the request of the Shah.
The Subh-i-Ezel was too peace-loving and unworldly
to control a community of enthusiasts, and gradually the
direction of affairs fell entirely into the hands of his elder
half-brother, the Baha Ulla, or "Splendour of God."
1 The Shaykhis of Kerman (Ten Thousand Miles, etc^ p. 196) claim for their leader
that he is a Shia-i-Kamil, or " Perfect Shia," who serves as a " Channel of Grace"
between the absent Imam and his church. I am afraid that I offended the late head of
the Shaykhis, for whom I had great respect, by writing that the " Channel of Grace'
did not differ materially from the " Gate."